Thanks to imported beef, crayfish and durian, the mooncake industry in Shanghai is embracing a bumper year, despite industry insiders' previously gloomy forecasts.
Chefs in traditional restaurants and luxury hotels in Shanghai are bucking the trend by filling the traditionally dense pastries with novel ingredients.
At Hotel Indigo Shanghai, for example, within one month the sales of its wagyu marbled beef mooncake had already exceeded the total sales of traditional mooncakes last year, according to Julie Wang, the hotel's marketing manager.
On Nanjing Road, a line forms outside the traditional Cantonese Xinya Restaurant as impatient customers hanker after its newly launched yanduxian mooncakes. Taking inspiration from Shanghai's beloved yanduxian soup, which is made from pork and bamboo shoots, the mooncakes were a hit as soon as they were launched.
The Peninsula Shanghai hotel is also joining the fray with a new handmade durian mooncake, an upgrade on its popular egg custard variety.
At Wang Bao He, a century-old restaurant known for its crab dishes, all 6,000 boxes of crayfish mooncakes had been preordered following a mid-July launch.
Each mooncake contains four freshly peeled crayfish, which are fried with garlic shoots and mushrooms before being stuffed into the pastry.